Surprise! Guess who? Technically, this is supposed to be agent's chapter, but a –ahem- little birdie told me she was having trouble after where I left off. So then my lovely muse came along and hit me with the inspiration for this chapter. No, really, he whacked me good over the head, the jerk. Anyway, I had a bit of fun with this chapter, so enjoy. :D
Erm, right the disclaimer… Weeell… I'm afraid that while agent and I managed to grab onto the deed for Fullmetal Alchemist for a minute, we were then promptly beat down by the cow security and had the deed dragged from our cold, dead fingers. Then we sprang back to life and decided to write fanfiction instead!
I couldn't have wings. It wasn't possible. It went against everything I knew. People couldn't—well, okay, maybe they could fly in this crazy faerie world, I could accept that, but I wasn't supposed to have wings. I was just Ed. Not some crazy pixie or whatever. I was supposed to be normal.
Well, as normal as someone can be after fighting immortals with an empty suit of armor by his side, and getting to be a State Alchemist before even hitting his teen years.
"Brother," Al said softly. I didn't dare meet his gaze. I couldn't. What the hell was happening to me? What was going on? I knew that something had to be wrong with me. Normal people didn't just sprout wings. Wasn't I supposed to be at least somewhat normal?
"Brother, please, we just want to help you," Al persisted, reaching out a hand to touch my arm. I shrugged away from him before turning around and running in the opposite direction. I just couldn't handle being around Al.
I tried desperately to tune out Al as I kept running. The wind whipping across my face felt surprisingly good, despite the fact that it was chilling me down to my bones. I then felt a breeze run across my back and shuddered. That did not feel good. It just felt weird.
I can't do this, Al. I'm sorry. I just can't handle this world.
"Brother! BROTHER!! Wake up!!"
I slowly became more aware of myself and realized that I wasn't running into the wind, instead I was lying in a bed and covered in sweat. I could even feel a slight pressure on my shoulders. But no strange itching sensation on my back. It had all been a dream. I nearly sighed out loud in relief.
"Mmph," I groaned, the details of my dream slowly slipping away from me. I then opened my eyes and looked up into the face above me.
"Al," I murmured softly. I then wrinkled my eyebrows in confusion. Something about him seemed different, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
I then suddenly realized that Al was touching my right shoulder. But… he couldn't touch metal. If Al was touching my shoulder, shouldn't he be screaming out in pain? I opened my mouth to say something before realizing that I could actually feel the pressure of his hand against my shoulder, which I shouldn't have been able to feel if I had automail.
I slowly looked down at my arm, almost afraid of what I would see. The last time my automail had turned to flesh I had ended up with a pair of wings. I didn't want a repeat of that incident. I preferred to just stay a normal, boring human.
Sure enough, when I looked at my right arm, not metal, but flesh greeted my eyes. I yelped and jumped out of the bed.
"Brother, what's wrong?" Al asked curiously as he looked over at me. I, meanwhile, was distracted by something else. Like the fact that the floor was made of real wood instead of the crazy springy material I had grown used to.
"Al," I said slowly, staring down at the floor in amazement. I had been starting to believe I would never see a real floor again. "Where exactly… are we?"
"Winry's house, of course," Al answered simply. I felt my mouth drop open in surprise as I looked around the room again. No wonder it had seemed vaguely familiar. It felt like it had been ages since we had last been at Winry's house.
"How'd we get back to Winry's?" I asked quickly, sure that I had a surprised expression on my face. "What about Adomadren? How'd we get away from there? And what about your trial? And Anselm? And… and…" My brain felt like it was about to explode. How could we have possibly gotten back to Reisenburgh? Wasn't I supposed to be bound to the faerie world or something?
"What's Adomadren?" Al asked with a confused look towards me. I looked at him in bewilderment. What the hell did he mean by a question like that? "And who's Anselm? Brother, are you sure you're all right?"
"Al, do you mean you don't remember any of that?" I asked slowly, taking a step towards him. "But you... you were… some changeling or whatever they called you."
"Brother, I think you should go back to bed," Al said to me slowly as he took a step forward. He was almost treating me like some wild animal that couldn't be trusted. I narrowed my eyes and tried to figure out what the hell was going on before I suddenly realized what was so strangely different about Al.
"Al… Your skin's not green," I said in surprise, looking him over carefully. I realized that over time I had actually gotten used to the green skin, even though it was still a bit unnerving. As I looked closer, I realized that his ears also were back to their usual rounded shape. Seeing Al looking normal again was so strangely different from what I had become accustomed to.
"Why would I be green, Brother?" Al asked, and I realized just how confused my poor brother really was. It was almost as if he didn't know anything about Adomadren, as if…
As if it had never happened.
"Al, what's the last thing you remember?" I asked quickly, feeling some sort of hurried panic swell inside of me. Had it all be a dream? Just some crazy dream about faeries and magic? Was it too much too hope that Al and I could just go back to being normal brothers again?
"We both got our bodies back, and then we were on the train home to Reisenburgh when you tripped on the way to Winry's, bumped your head and went unconscious. You've been out for days, Brother, we were all really worried about you," Al told me simply, still looking at me strangely.
"N-Nothing strange has happened?" I stammered out quickly, feeling like I had been hit with another wave of pixie dust. "No flying, dragons, dryads, centaurs, nothing? Everything is perfectly normal and obeying the laws of science again?"
"Nothing strange has happened until you woke up today," Al said slowly, cocking his head as he looked at me. "Really, Brother, I think that you need to go back to bed. You hit your head kinda hard, and you should probably take it easy for a while."
"No, Al, I feel fine," I said quickly, shrugging away from him. "Probably the best I've felt in a while. How about we go outside for a walk?"
"A… walk?" Al repeated disbelievingly, and I nodded with a grin. "Brother, this isn't a suggestion anymore, you really need your rest, something is wrong. I know you, and you don't act like this."
"Nah, I'm perfectly fine," I assured Al quickly. "I just want to go outside with you, that's all. Go outside and not hear any tales about flower women or talking trees for once. How's that sound?"
"Brother," Al repeated, but this time as I looked at him, something within his face morphed, and his eyes and hair both turned golden while he adopted a very familiar smirk. "You need to go back to bed."
"No!" I shouted, stepping away from Anselm in horror. "You're not my brother! Where's Al? What did you do to him, you bastard? I just want Al! Al! Where are you Al?" Anselm just smirked and took a few steps towards me.
"Who's Al, Brother? Don't you know, I'm your real brother. Not some fake," Anselm told me, but I just shook my head and clapped my hands over my ears. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to block him out at all.
"Don't you love me, Brother? Brother, I thought you wanted to go for a walk? Brother… Brother…. Brother!" I snapped and jumped backwards, but felt myself trip on something and fall deep into darkness.
"…A lot of pain…suffering…delusions…may take…few days…"
I frowned and tried to figure out who was talking. It didn't sound like anyone I had ever heard before, and I couldn't even say where the voice was coming from. All I could see was darkness. And the voice kept fading in and out, as if I was listening through a bad phone connection.
"Brother," another voice said softly. I still couldn't tell where the voices were coming from, but I at least recognized that one.
"Al," I called out, but my lips didn't seem to want to cooperate with me and instead it ended up sounding like a half strangled sob. "Al, where are you? So hot…" I realized as I said it that it was indeed very hot within the darkness. It felt like I had been shut inside of an oven along with a cake to bake.
"Just hold on Brother," Al said softly, and I had to strain to hear his words. "We're going to try and help you, just hold on."
"Alright," I said, my voice once again not cooperating with my mind and coming out in some sort of half-garbled language.
I then slowly opened my eyes and found myself lying on my back in the grass outside. It was late out, and the stars were sparkling brightly in the sky. Just from the familiar smell to the air around me I could tell I was back in Reisenburgh. Nowhere else smelled quite like home did.
"Ed?" a soft voice said, suddenly interrupting me out of my thoughts. I jerked up into a sitting position, only to be greeted by a familiar face that I had not seen in far too long.
"Oh, Ed," Winry whispered, the same tears she always had rushing to her eyes once again as she suddenly rushed forward and grabbed me around the neck. "I've missed you so much. Where did you go?"
"I'm sorry Winry," I said softly as I reached out my arms to hug her back. I then realized just how much I had truly missed her while we had been off in the woods. How could I ever have left Winry, one of my closest friends ever? Nothing was supposed to separate us.
But I had still managed to get swept up in some crazy story and then even get bound to the fay world. I tightened my grip on Winry, hoping that this wasn't just some other crazy dream like everything else seemed to be. I had no clue what was reality and what was fiction anymore. Did I have wings? Was Al really a faerie, or not? And was I really hugging Winry on a hill in Reisenburgh, or was that another fantasy as well?
"Winry, I…" I said softly, but felt my throat tighten as I said the words. How could I tell her anything? How could I tell her nothing? She was Winry, I was Ed, things just weren't supposed to turn out like this.
"Please don't leave me again," Winry said softly, and I could feel her tears leaking into my shirt. I felt a swell of anger towards myself blossom in my chest as I heard her whisper the words. I had made Winry cry yet again. I was such an idiot.
"Oh, Win," I sighed, reaching a hand up to stroke her hair. "I'm so sorry. I've messed things up too much for you. I need to set things right." I then looked up at the sky, and noticed that the sky seemed darker than it had before.
Maybe that was because the stars had disappeared.
I then realized that darkness was all around me instead of just above me. Winry wasn't hugging me; I was alone.
"Dammit!" I yelled loudly, clenching my hands into fists.
"Where am I?" I continued to yell, trying to find something anything without the darkness. No answer came. "Tell me where the hell I am! What's going on? Somebody answer me!"
I barely was able to catch a hoarse whisper float through the air, but I couldn't make out the words it was saying. I strained my ears and leaned forward, though I wasn't sure whether the whispering was coming from in front of me or behind me.
Finally, finally I managed to figure out what it was telling me, though I had no clue what the three words possibly meant.
"…Death is coming…"
And an ominous ending to leave you all with, muahaha. That a bit better, agent? It had better be, because I ain't writing no more chapters until you manage to do a bit. In the meantime, you people leave reviews. Let's hope agent's muse decides to actually be helpful instead of scaring away my muse. ;)